Although all drivers are aware of the main driving regulations they must follow, many are still unaware of the severity of consequences and continue to bend the law to make their journey either easier or quicker. It is vital to not only understand the most common driving offences but the punishments you could receive if broken.
The 5 Most Common Driving Offences
You would be surprised how many on-the-spot fines police officers dish out each day. According to The Telegraph, it is thought that one in three British motorists are fined for a driving-related offence every year. Depending on the extensity of your crime, bending the law could result in losing your licence, a driving ban and even imprisonment.
To ensure that you do not fall into the trap of breaking the law and risking losing your licence, we have listed the top six most common driving offences here in the UK.
1. Driving With No Car Insurance
A large percentage of those who are caught driving without valid car insurance have unintentionally broken the law by forgetting to note down their renewal date. You must ensure that your car insurance is renewed in advance and is not left until the final day.
On the other hand, for new drivers purchasing their first car, many forget that their vehicle must be insured before they take it home from the dealership or seller. Although insurance for young drivers is often considerably more expensive, many companies offer deals for new drivers. It is always worth shopping around on websites such as Confused.com and Admiral for cost-effective policies.
It is now easier than ever for police officers to spot an uninsured vehicle. An automatic number plate recognition camera is used to scan the history of your car to uncover whether it is insured within just a few minutes. If you are caught driving without car insurance, you could receive up to a £300 fine on the spot and six points on your licence, which for a new driver, is enough to lose your licence. The police also have the power to seize your vehicle there and then.
We once had a pupil who was taking driving lessons in Milton Keynes and after passing, lost his licence within just one week. He was so excited about having his own car that he decided to chance driving before taking out a policy in the hope that as it was late at night, he wouldn’t be caught. As we all know, police officers are more vigilant than ever at night; he was caught and lost both his licence and car on the spot.
2. Use Of Your Mobile Phone
We are now all more than familiar with the laws regarding the use of a mobile phone while driving, however, to no surprise, the consequences still do not deter many drivers. It is illegal to use a hand-held mobile phone while you are driving and being caught could land you £200 roadside fine and again, 6 points on your licence. If you are to cause an accident due to using your phone, you will be sent to court, risk a driving ban and a higher fine of up to £1,000.
The law states that a mobile phone can be used only if it is through a hands-free device, for example, if you want to use your phone for navigation, it must be on a car mobile phone holder. All equipment must be set up before you leave, you cannot touch the phone, and it must stay in a fixed position for the duration of your journey.
3. Driving Without An MOT
Driving without a valid MOT is a chargeable offence that many drivers are not aware of and is easily done. If you are pulled over by a police officer and cannot present either a valid MOT certificate or proof you are taking your car to the MOT testing centre, you will be fined £100 on the spot. In the worst case scenario, if your vehicle is deemed dangerous to other road users due to an invalid MOT, you could be fined up to £1,000.
An annual MOT test is a legal requirement for all vehicles three years or older. You can take your car for its yearly MOT up to a month before it runs out, so it is always recommended to get it over and done with in advance to run no risks of being prosecuted.
4. Breaking The Speed Limit
Speeding has always been one of the biggest, if not the biggest culprit for causing drivers to pick up fines and points on their licence. In recent years, local councils have become stricter than ever, adding more and more discrete speed cameras on busy roads. Although breaking the speed limit has always been an offence driver’s take lightly, it most definitely time to start taking speeding seriously.
If you are caught speeding, you will fall into one of three categories depending on the speed you were driving; band A, B or C.
Band A means that you were driving 1-9mph over the speed limit. This will result in a fine of 50% of your weekly income along with 3 points on your licence.
Band B relates to drivers who were over the speed limit by 11-20mph. Falling into Band B means you will be fined with 100% of one week’s income and receive 4 points on your licence. You also risk losing your licence for one month.
Lastly, is Band C. Drivers who are caught going 21mph or more above the speed limit will fall into Band C. You will receive a fine of 150% of your weekly income along with 6 points on your licence. Your licence can be taken for up to 56 days.
5. Drink Driving
Drink driving continues to be a massive issue in the UK with over 700,000 drivers being caught driving under the influence of alcohol every year.
The consequences of driving under the influence differs depending on the severity of your offence. You can be both fined and face imprisonment even just for refusing to take a breathalyser test. The maximum you could receive for drink driving is 14 years in prison, an unlimited fine and a minimum of a two-year driving ban.
For full information on the consequences of drink driving, take a look at this helpful article!
Stay Within The Law!
Particularly as a new driver, it is imperative to ensure that you are aware of all driving regulations and know how to stay within the law. As a driver in their first two years, you are only permitted a maximum of six points on your licence before it is revoked. It would be a shame to lose your licence before you even had a chance to enjoy it!